Wine Country Jaunts for the Time Challenged

MIX Magazine, October 2012

A wine country visit doesn’t have to be a schedule-busting, all-day-long affair. If you focus on just one area, you can have country roads, gorgeous views and fabulous wines even if you have just a few hours to spare. We charted out three fast-yet-fabulous itineraries only an hour’s drive from Portland.



JK Carriere Wines: This winery perched atop Parrett Mountain reflects owner/winemaker Jim Prosser’s adventurous, philosophical spirit — with an evergreen view from the tasting room and an artistic rendering of a wasp adorning the labels (Prosser is severely allergic). Although he is known for his elegant pinots — the classic “Provocateur” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a go-to dinner party wine — don’t miss the lithe Lucidite Willamette Valley Chardonnay.

9995 N.E. Parrett Mountain Road, Newberg, 503-554-0721,

Colene Clemens Vineyards: If you take a wrong turn (or two, as I did) on the way here, you won’t mind (think breathtaking vistas from Bald Peak, doe-eyed llamas and endless blue sky). A steep slope of pinot noir vines race up from a nostalgic century-old barn at the base of the 120-acre property. You will want to linger in the lodgelike tasting room with its leather chairs and stone fireplace. By all means do, with a glass of aromatic and velvety 2009 Victoria Pinot Noir.

22501 N.E. Dopp Road, Newberg, 503-662-4687,

Trisaetum Winery, Vineyards and Gallery: This state-of-the-art winery also houses a 1,500-square-foot art gallery that features the contemporary paintings and photography of James Frey, Trisaetum’s owner and founder. Look closely and you’ll see vineyard cuttings and vineyard soil integrated into pieces. The focus here is on pinot noir and riesling: Try the off-dry 2011 Coast Range Estate Dry Riesling, a crisp oyster wine with delicate floral notes.

18401 Ribbon Ridge Road, Newberg, 503-538-9898,


Recipe, A Neighborhood Kitchen: This stately Victorian home has an intimate farmhouse feel with reclaimed barn wood tables and chalkboard wine menus. Chef Paul Bachand changes the menu daily based on ingredients local farmers drop by and whatever is ripe and bursting from the one-acre vegetable garden a block from the restaurant. Try the house-smoked trout salad with heirloom spinach and the oh-so-savory onion tart.

115 N. Washington St., Newberg, 503-487-6853,



Winderlea Vineyard & Winery: Standing on the deck of Winderlea’s sleek and sophisticated tasting room, it feels as though you are suspended above tidy rows of twisted grape vines, some of the oldest in the Willamette Valley. Small-lot pinots (some a mere 100 cases) showcase the elegant, earthy fruit from the famed Jory soil. Try the 2009 Winderlea Legacy Pinot Noir, an ode to the older vines, with black fruit and a hint of spice.

8905 N.E. Worden Hill Road, Dundee, 503-554-5900,

Winter’s Hill Vineyard: Leave the heels at home and join the wiking trend (wine + hiking) at Winter’s Hill Vineyard. A serene path curls down from the tasting room through restored oak savannah and fir forests. The 150-acre farm, planted with a 35-acre vineyard, is also a stop on the Willamette Valley Birding Trail. Russell Gladhart and his winemaker wife, Delphine, are often at hand pouring their silky pinot noirs. The 2011 Pinot Blanc, bright citrus in the glass, begs for a bite of Dungeness crab.

6451 Hilltop Lane, Dayton, 503-864-4538,

Stoller Family Estate: What began as one of the largest turkey farms in the state is now a leading Willamette Valley winery. Call ahead to schedule a behind-the-scenes tour of the LEED gold-certified facility, then enjoy a taste of place with pinot noirs and chardonnays made from estate fruit. Soak up the vineyard view in an Adirondack chair with a glass of the brambly 2009 JV Estate Pinot Noir.

16161 N.E. McDougall Road, Dayton, 503-864-3404,


Red Hills Market: Grab a bite where the locals go and chances are you’ll run into a boot-clad winemaker or cheesemaker. The hearty, well-crafted sandwiches always satisfy (especially the wood-oven-roasted vegetables, baby spinach and Briar Rose chevre). Custom picnics and wine tasting snacks can be ordered to go. But if you have the time, opt for a wood-fired pizza. Head to the patio and relax into a rocking chair made from reclaimed wine barrels.

155 S.W. Seventh St., Dundee, 971-832-8414,



Maysara Winery: Maysara Winery is majestic, with a sun-dappled blue lake, voluptuous green hillsides and a mosaic of vines that splash across the slopes like thick paintbrush strokes. Resident denizens include sheep, cattle, horses and hundreds of wild turkeys (often spotted clucking between the vineyard rows). The entire 540-acre property is Demeter Certified Biodynamic. Taste the purity of pinot noir here: The supple Delara — a Persian word that translates as “capture one’s heart” — bursts with dark ripe cherries.

15765 S.W. Muddy Valley Road, McMinnville; 503-843-1234,

The Granary District: The latest hot spot in McMinnville is the still-evolving Granary District — several mixed-use blocks that include a handful of urban wineries, Ruby Cakes Bakery and the four-season McMinnville Public Market. Taste Columbia River Gorge-grown tempranillo from the husband-and-wife duo behind Dominio IV Wines. Then explore Pacific Northwest-grown Italian varietals like dolcetto and sangiovese by Remy Drabkin of Remy Wines.

Dominio IV Wines, 845 N.E. Fifth St., 503-474-8636,

Remy Wines, 905 N.E. 10th St., 503-560-2003,

R. Stuart & Co. Winery and Wine Bar: When craving simple pleasures, the Norman Rockwell-esque downtown McMinnville offers leafy tree-lined streets, quiet cafes, family-run restaurants, a fabulous independent bookstore and this wine bar, where the winemaker (and his wife) will remember your name. Taste through the R. Stuart vineyard-designated pinot noirs while snacking on freshly baked gougeres and locally made salumi by Fino in Fondo. The 2008 Vin Tardive, a late harvest wine, is a heavenly match for your next cheese course.

528 N.E. Third St., McMinnville; 866-472-8614,


Community Plate: The eclectic decor made up of vintage finds like deer antlers and swirl-around-stools at a step-up-bar fits perfectly with the Americana-inspired comfort fare at Community Plate. Where to sit is the question: perched on a window-facing stool that looks out on bustling Third Street or at one of the communal tables to chatter with locals? As for the food, split an order of the deviled eggs to start. Then try the grilled cheese with onion jam or the Oregon albacore tuna melt.

315 N.E. Third St., McMinnville; 503-687-1902,

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